Okay, so technically I don’t think there are professional stampers unless you find someone whose Etsy store has shot to the moon, but a little tagline hyperbole never hurt anyone, especially around the holidays.
I was inspired to create this little tutorial when I received my order from Butter Side Down Stamps located in Richwood, NJ. I had bought a few stamps to decorate my outbound mailing, and when I saw the resulting outlines I knew I had to make Halloween cards
(since Halloween cards are now a thing, thanks Hallmark). I was so thrilled with the results that I wanted to share the results with you all! (Especially since Butter Side Down has some horror themed stamps on clearance. $1.50 for a Gargoyle or Iron Coffin stamp! Yes, please.)
I am one of those people who could have an entire website dedicated exclusively to my personal Pinterest fails, so trust me when I say that this is the ultimate, lazy way to create amazing looking crafts. Pretty much everything can be stamped. Stationary, envelopes, and packages can all benefit from stamps, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can even go so far as to create your own cards for Halloween. These could be invitations to a Halloween party, simple holiday greetings, Hallowedding invitations or thank you cards… Really the possibilities are endless. (Even more so if, like me, you just like sending spooky mail.)
I made these cards as a ‘Oh wow, these are really cool. I want to make cards!’ project, devoid of any real crafting supplies. While that means they don’t look as fancy as they would have otherwise, it proves that you can make decent looking cards with things that you already probably have around the house if you have stamps. The best part is that you don’t even need to know how to draw or write exceptionally well if you have a printer (for text), or are making these for people who are into the ‘I made it myself’ aesthetic.
What You’ll Need:
– Rubber stamps (I would recommend mounted, or if you have unmounted stamps there are a variety of tutorials available online for self-mounting that are pretty straightforward.)
– An ink pad (or several)
– Printer paper (or nicer card stock or scrapbook paper if you like)
– Markers/Pens/Highlighters (something to write/draw with, unless you’ve gotten stamps for the text, too.)
– Tape or Glue
– Newspaper if you’re using tape or liquid glue to protect your work space
– Different colored paper (or in my case, a pad of Post-its.)
These are the stamps I was working with, though not all are seen in this tutorial. I got the Chupacabra, Vampire Skull, Bog Demon, and Book & Candle from Butter Side Down. The pictured stamps (beside their respective name cards) are unmounted stamps, so if you happen to order from the same site and get the unmounted version, this is what you can expect. Pardon the shadow on the Book & Candle, but hopefully based on the others you get the general idea.
Step One – Sizing & Folding
Make sure your card will fit into your envelope. You can measure if you are prepared and have a ruler, but in this lazy version, I simply put my envelope on my printer paper and marked the edges, folded my paper, and then cut accordingly. If you are taking my lazy approach, be sure that you tri-fold your paper, like this:
You’ll need all three folds. Do not discard anything you cut off to make the paper fit into your envelope, you’ll be able to use it later. You can go ahead and cut the back (right most) folded section off of your card but do not discard it, either.
Step Two – Stamps!
Do a few test stamps on the scrap paper that is not the third flap of your trifold. (I told you you’d need it.) Unless they look super terrible or you are dead set on using a different color, consider keeping them and using them on your card. Using multiple types/colors/layers of paper will make your card look more dynamic and interesting than just stamping directly on the main page. In the next step we’re going to make the stamp pop off the card, so be sure that you get one you’re happy with on an additional sheet if you’d like to use that effect. (In addition to making your card look more interesting, stamping on another sheet means that you’ll be able to try again in the event that you mess up!)
As you can see, mine weren’t perfect, but they still looked great. (That is the beauty of a well-made stamp) I kept them to use later on my cards. At this point you’ll want to choose a concept for your first card. I went with a flying Bog Demon and full moon.
I free handed the circle for the moon. This wasn’t because I was exceptionally confident in my ability to trim a circle, but more because I didn’t have a compass or small enough circle to fit on my Post-it Notes.
Step Three – Cutting Out & Coloring
Cut out your stamped design(s) and any extras you’ll need.
Then, using the excess paper, cut a small rectangle. On the rectangle, fold one end up and one end down so that you have a letter “z” like so.
If you are going to draw on, color, or write on the card I would suggest you do it now. Make sure that if you are using something like markers to decorate your card that you have it open and face down when you decorate it. (If you’re using printer paper especially, markers will bleed through!) Before your proceed to the next step, figure out exactly where you will be placing your stamped items and any additional paper cutouts before you begin attaching things to your card.
Step Four – Attaching
For my card, I affixed the moon first, and then affixed the Bog Demon with the paper “z” so he’s flying out.
For this first card, I didn’t follow my own advice and didn’t color the card prior to attaching everything. (Whoops.) That is how I came to have that advice. You can see the uncolored version after everything has been attached on the left, and my odd little colored version on the right.
This card was for my grandma, so I went with a scribbly color pattern that reminded me of the old children’s books she and I used to read around this time of year about a ghost. The fact that I managed to almost run off the page with ‘Halloween’ was an accident, but inappropriately gauging how large I need to write for everything to fit is something I have done since childhood, so here’s to hoping she’ll find it endearing. If you are more graphically inclined, then your lettering will probably look less like it was done by a drunk five year old. (Lesson learned: I probably should have bought a stamp lettering kit.)
Step Five – Card Interior
The sentiment of the card is obviously very important. I went with a simple ‘Happy Halloween’ on the front of my first card because my stamp and moon were so large, but if you have smaller stamps you can obviously say more. Alternately, you can put all of the sentiment on the inside of your card and just go crazy decorating. That’s the beauty of DIY, it’s all up to you.
I opted for a sweet card interior, since the grandma I was making this card for is the one who first got me to love Halloween and horror by association. I modified the graphic I’ve seen on Tumblr and Facebook lately that says “I’m glad I live in a world with Octobers” to suit my purposes. The card reads “I’m glad I live in a world with my two favorite things. Halloween & Grandmas.” If you’re stumped beyond ‘Happy Halloween,’ Google image search and Tumblr are great resources to find a plethora of Halloween/fall quotes you can utilize.
After the inside is more or less filled out, pull out the third flap of your trifold. (I hope you kept it!) If you decorated your card with markers of any kind, then odds are that your front design will have bled. Attach the third flap onto the inside of the front of your card (as pictured above), so that when your card is open the reader can’t see an inversion of the front.
Step Six – Envelopes
No card or stationary set is complete without envelopes, so be sure to decorate those, too! I went simple, only putting a single stamp on the front of each envelope beneath the return address, but you could obviously add more if you have multiple designs you would like to implement.
TA-DA! I hope you enjoyed this goofy little tutorial as much as I enjoyed making it. Let us know if you end up trying out stamping this holiday season as a frugal alternative to buying cards or stationary.